Finances Trouble General Synod: National Office Faces Deficit

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Mississauga, Ont.

Financial difficulties continue to hound General Synod, with the 2004 budget incurring a deficit of $241,592 and the 2005 budget projected to suffer a deficit of $754,000 due to a combination of factors including diminishing donations linked to the $25-million settlement fund payments and to debates sparked by the blessing of same-sex unions.

"We're facing difficulties. The expenses are on target but we have warning signs on the income side," General Secretary Jim Boyles said in a report to the Council of General Synod (COGS). "We expected more than we received."

CoGS has formed a task force with representatives from each ecclesiastical province to help the national church's management team find ways of balancing the budget by the end of the year.

While diocesan contributions were steady, donations to the Anglican Appeal "dropped off significantly due to the necessity of payments to the settlement fund and the increased visibility of the debate over same-sex unions," said Arhdeacon Boyles, who read the financial report on behalf of treasurer Jim Cullen (who is on leave). He said that at the end of September, Anglican Appeal donations were 25 percent ahead of the 2002 level, giving rise to expectations that totals would reach $600,000 for 2003. But by the fourth quarter, donations declined by 23 percent compared to 2002. Net donations to the 2003 Appeal were $409,611, a decline of $190,000 from projected donations.

Income from the Anglican Book Centre (ABC) also took a hit. ABC introduced "aggressive discounts" on merchandise in order to reduce inventory in time for the planned move of the national office to its new quarters in January (it has been moved anew to this month).

The book store sales generated much-needed cash flow but also reduced income to $1. …